Every August my husband and I celebrate our anniversary with a long camping trip. This year we camped in Vermont at Grand Isle State Park on the Lake Champlain Islands. It was divine!
We brought our bikes and spent our days cycling and swimming in the lake.
There are some excellent maps with suggested bike routes here and here. The island routes were primarily on empty country roads with little traffic and quaint farms and lake views throughout.
Our routes also took us past apple orchards and farms selling eggs and other assorted produce. Most things were sold on the honor system–a sign announced what was available, and a jar or box was available for you to leave your money in.
After an active day of biking and cooling off in the lake, we like to prepare simple, tasty meals to replenish and set us up for another day of biking. But what can you cook when you are camping? Our camp stove is sort of like a little jet engine, and the only thing it really does is boil things at a high temperature. In our early days of camping we did a lot of mix-type things. You know, boil some stuff and dump in some seasoning. Those mixes didn’t make us feel very good, though because they were basically boxes full of chemicals.
We realized that we could make healthier, tastier food with just a little more work than dumping a box of stuff in water. Since we’re only car camping (not backpacking–we’re too old for that!), we can bring heavy canned foods, some fresh produce and most importantly a cutting board. Now when we camp we eat variations on this recipe–a can of tomatoes with some sort of seasoning and some protein. This version has eggs, but it works well with a can of black beans, too. We buy a roll of prepared polenta, use 1/2 of it for one meal, and keep it fresh in our cooler to use the next day.
Camp Cuisine Poached Eggs Diablo on Polenta
1/2 roll of prepared polenta
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1-2 tsp. cumin powder
Salt to taste
1 can Muir Glen Adobo tomatoes or Ro-Tel tomatoes (something spicy)
Saute onion, garlic and dash of salt in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue sauteing until everything is soft and the onions are starting to brown. Add cumin powder and saute for just a few seconds, then add entire can of tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn fire down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Make 4 indentations in tomato mixture and crack eggs into the pot. Bring back to a boil and poach eggs for about 3-4 minutes (or longer if you don’t like runny yolks).
Cut polenta into at least 4 slices and divide them between 2 bowls. Top each with 2 eggs and 1/2 of the sauce.
This tasted amazing on our trip, sitting in front of the fire ring under the stars, listening to the crickets and cicadas. If your surroundings are less divine, you might need to up the flavors–maybe some oregano? Maybe some tabasco?